Written by: Pete Heslop
Steadfast Collective is a web application design and development studio in Southampton. Also known as ‘digital products’ what exactly are ‘web applications’ and why do we care so much about building them?
When I look back, my personal obsession with web applications started years ago. Tinkering with BB Forums and other early CMS systems. I’m a creator at heart and love to be able to build ideas into fruition. My material of choice; code.
Fast forward many years and building web applications is foundational for Steadfast Collective. Each member of the team has a desire to be building quality web applications to shape industries for years to come.
What is a web application and what can it do?
Web applications are centred around solving problems. A web application takes an itch and scratches it. A well thought through application can reach into the core of a problem, solve it creatively and create value worth 100 times the initial cost.
We love working with our partners to build these solutions to their everyday problems.
We also take time out of our schedule to focus on building our own web applications.
What differentiates a web application from a website is that a web application is defined by its interaction with the user and function, whereas a website is defined by its content.
In many ways, a web application is much like computer software, except that it runs on a web server so can be accessed anywhere, unlike traditional desktop applications.
Web applications at work: Tap
Let’s take a look at an example: Nearly six years ago alongside some friends we dreamed up the concept of a new startup business; Tap. Tap is a WordPress hosting platform which we, as Steadfast Collective, now run.
We felt that hosting platforms were too complex and expensive, so we built the antidote: Only offer the tools you really need, removing the complexities of database management, figuring out a backup strategy, and even domain management.
Over the years, Tap has hosted over 11,000 websites, with users all over the world, and we’re excited to see how the next version of the platform shakes up the industry.
Web applications at work: Duotone
Another great example of a web application at work is Duotone by ShapeFactory. Duotone is a simple web application that allows users to upload an image and create a duotone version of that image. No fuss or signup required, Duotone is a simple application that set out to solve a problem and solves it quickly and elegantly. Using Duotone feels solid, reliable and snappy. These are descriptive words you want to be associated with your application.
Web applications are all around us, in different forms. We use them on a daily basis, yet there are still so many problems to be solved and improvements that can be made.
Web applications can be small utilities, such as Duotone, or larger, data-driven complex solutions, but what they all hold in common is the thread of solving a problem.
We’re going to keep pushing ahead, building on our previous experience to build web applications which help change industries and make people’s everyday lives easier.